Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gun Control and Marijuana

In Montana and Oregon they're very confused.

Firearms dealers in states that allow medical marijuana can't sell guns or ammunition to registered users of the drug, a policy that marijuana and gun-rights groups say denies Second Amendment rights to individuals who are following state law.

Federal law already makes it illegal for someone to possess a gun if he or she is "an unlawful user of, or addicted to" marijuana or other controlled substances. A Sept. 21 letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, issued in response to numerous inquiries from gun dealers, clarifies that medical marijuana patients are included in that definition.

That seems clear enough. Why would having a prescription for the drug change anything? The reason users of marijuana and other drugs are prohibited from owning firearms is because when taking the drug they are impaired and cannot responsibly and safely manage the guns.

Of course, the slippery slope is looming on the horizon of this policy. What about the prescription pain killers, some of which are like heroin? How can gun ownership be compatible with them and not with their street counterparts? The answer is simple and obvious, it cannot.

But never underestimate the power of the NRA and the gun lobby.

Officials in two Oregon counties have said they'll appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after state judges said sheriffs couldn't deny concealed handgun licenses for medical marijuana patients.

The Oregon Court of Appeals and the Oregon Supreme Court said the state law that authorizes concealed handgun permits is separate from the federal law that outlaws gun possession by drug users, and the state gun law doesn't address medical marijuana use.

So, in spite of the federal law, the State of Oregon has decided concealed carry permits are OK for medical marijuana patients. It's sort of a technicality that one is a state law and the other is federal. I suppose those gun owners who are also medical marijuana patients had to conceal that fact when buying their guns.  Otherwise the gun dealer would have been constrained to deny the purchase because of the federal law.  Is that part legal, that concealing of marijuana use at the time of buying a gun?

Eventually this will all have to be straightened out.

What's your opinion? Do you think responsible gun owners can smoke pot and continue to be responsible?  I don't. I believe one would have to choose, pot or guns.  If you want to get high, fine I have no problem with it. Drugs should be legal anyway in my opinion.  But, I cannot accept that drug use and gun ownership are compatible.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.


  1. I don't think that marijuana use, legal or otherwise should be a bar to gun ownership. I think that if someone is getting high and using a gun than your "1 Strike Rule" should certainly be employed. But, then, I feel exactly the same way about drinking and shooting.

    I am unaware of specific laws in NY or elsewhere that mandate penalties for simply being drunk and having a gun in one's possession. If there were, a whole boatload of hunters would be sitting alongside non-LGO marijuana users in prison cells.

  2. It seems like an obvious fact to me that anyone who is prescribed a judgement-impairing drug, or found to use an illegal drug, should not be allowed to possess a firearm. I would apply this to people with alcohol addictions or who have the "1 Strike Rule" applied, as democommie said.

    Sadly, it is not so obvious to gun fetishists. See my post on this:

    Also, sadly, it is not illegal in Oregon to be drunk, or high, and in possession of a gun. It only becomes illegal when they pull the trigger, and by then it may be too late to save a life.

  3. I think there are places were it is illegal to be drunk and in possession of a gun, but as democommie said, it's obvioulsy not enforced especially with hunters.

    Basically my idea is that the bar needs to be lowered significantly.

  4. Baldr, That's an incredible indictment against your fine State.

    it is not illegal in Oregon to be drunk, or high, and in possession of a gun. It only becomes illegal when they pull the trigger